Sweet Solutions: The Best Sugar Substitutes
By Kelly Dinardo
Thanks to the newest sugar substitutes, it's becoming easier (and healthier)
to bake your cake and eat it too!
There are so many alternative sweeteners available now that they seem to be
elbowing sugar right off the supermarket shelf. But what's so wrong with sugar?
At just 15 calories per teaspoon, "nothing--in moderation," says Lona
Sandon, R.D., an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of
Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "The naturally occurring sugar
in an apple is fine, but if we can reduce some of the added sugar in our diet,
we can remove some of the empty calories." Less than 25 percent of your
daily calories should come from the added sugar in foods like cookies, cereal,
and ketchup, she says. To satisfy your sweet tooth--especially if you're
counting calories, limiting carbs, or dealing with diabetes--try these
SWEETLEAF AND TRUVIA
What they are: These sugar alternatives are the latest made from
stevia, an herb found in Central and South America that is up to 40 times
sweeter than sugar but has zero calories and won't cause a jump in your blood
sugar. Stevia was slow to catch on because of its bitter, licorice-like
aftertaste, but makers of Truvia and SweetLeaf have solved this problem by
using the sweetest parts of the plant in their products.
Where to find them: In grocery stores and natural-food stores
throughout the country and online at sweetleaf.com and truvia.com.
How to use them: Both work well in coffee and tea or sprinkled over
fruit, cereal, or yogurt. You can't substitute stevia-based products for sugar
in baked goods, though, because these products are sweeter than sugar and don't
offer the same color and texture. Makers of SweetLeaf promise to come out with
a baking formulation soon.
Health Rx: "Truvia's one of the most promising alternatives out
there," says nutritionist Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The Healthiest
Meals on Earth . "Right now, it looks safe. It tastes just like sugar and
has almost no glycemic index, which means it won't spike your blood
What it is: Three naturally occurring sugars--fructose, the sugar in
fruit; sucrose, or table sugar; and lactose, the sugar in milk--are blended to
create this sweetener. While individually the sugars are fully caloric, when
blended in Whey Low they interact in such a way that they aren't completely
absorbed into the body. As a result, at four calories per teaspoon, Whey Low
has one quarter of the calories and less than one third of the glycemic index
of sugar, so you're less likely to crash after consuming it. It's available in
varieties similar to granular sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, and